DECEMBER 31, 2016 – FRIDAY -THE WORD BECAME FLESH

(John 1:1-14)

Prayer: O Jesus, thank you for leaving the Father’s side and becoming a man.

Imagination:  (Imagine Mary telling the angel, Gabriel, that she would be God’s mother.)

Context:

Mark begins his gospel with John the Baptist. Matthew and Luke begin their gospels with infancy stories. John begins his gospel in heaven. Quickly, the gospel enters into human history, as “The Word became flesh and dwelled among us.” The text is used today because tomorrow will be a new beginning.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God and all things were made by him, and without him, nothing was made. In him was life and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not comprehend it.

The real light which gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world and the world was made by him but the world did not know him. He came into his own and his own received him not. But as many as received him, he gave them power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name. These are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh and dwelled among us. And we saw his glory, the glory of the only begotten Son, coming from the Father, filled with enduring love.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)

  1. Jesus is the Word, perfectly conceived in the mind of the Father.
  2. He is God, equal to the Father.
  3. Through him and in him, the whole world was created.
  4. Yet, when he came into the world, people did not recognize him.
  5. Even his Jewish people did not understand that he was sent by the Father.
  6. He was a light removing the darkness.
  7. He filled all who believed with divine life, making them God’s children.
  8. He became flesh. He lived among us. People could see his glory. That is the mystery of Christmas.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. Jesus, you are eternal. You come from the Father.
  2. Jesus, you created everything. You own the whole world. You own me. I am yours.
  3. Jesus, I recognize you. I know who you are.
  4. Come into my life. I welcome you.
  5. You are life, full life, abundant life, God’s life.
  6. Make me a child of God, so I will live forever in perfect happiness.
  7. You have become flesh. People have seen you and recorded your words.
  8. Thank you for being born among us.

Resolution: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. In this Christmas season, I will reflect on this greatest mystery – the Word became flesh.
  2. More than anything else, I will cherish being a child of God. This is Jesus’ gift.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

The Word became flesh and we have seen his glory.

DECEMBER 30, 2016 – FRIDAY, CHRISTMAS WEEK – THE WOMAN PROPHETESS

(Luke 2:36-40)

Prayer: O Lord, teach me to fast, to pray and to listen to your word.

Imagination: (Picture Joseph and Mary holding the Christ Child in the presence of Simeon and Anna.)

Context:

Luke likes to portray both men and women ministering. So, he added Anna, a prophetess, to Simeon’s story. She is a widow who serves in the temple by prayer and fasting. In this text, she says no specific words. She believes in Jesus and alerts all to his saving power for Jerusalem (which symbolizes all the elect).

Gospel text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

There was a prophetess named Anna, the daughter of Phanuel of the tribe of Asher. She was far advanced in years, having lived with her husband for seven years and then, as a widow until she was 84. She never left the temple but served night and day by prayer and fasting. Now, at this same moment, she came on the scene. She gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who looked forward to the deliverance of Jerusalem.

After the couple had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their city, Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom and God’s favor was upon him.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)

  1. God has everything planned. At just the right moment, Anna comes on the scene.
  2. She is the perfect person. Everyone knows her because she is always in the temple, praying, fasting and serving needs.
  3. She understands immediately and believes that Jesus is the Messiah.
  4. She becomes an evangelist, telling everyone in the temple that she had seen the Messiah who would deliver Jerusalem.
  5. The family’s responsibilities are complete. They return ninety miles to Nazareth in Galilee.
  6. The years in Nazareth are so important. The child Jesus will experience all the natural phases of human maturing.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. O God, all is planned for your glory and our happiness.
  2. Each of us is the perfect person, exactly the one needed to spread your word in our culture.
  3. O Jesus I must prepare for my task in your Kingdom.
  4. Help me to fast and pray. Give me a spirit of service.
  5. O Jesus, you are the Deliverer. You will free me and bring redemption to our land.
  6. Teach me your plan. Where am I to go? Where am I to settle?
  7. Help me to mature – to grow in wisdom and favor. This is my deepest request.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will believe that God has a task for me to do.
  2. Every day, I will pray and sacrifice so I can be ready.

Thought for today: (To recall your meditation)

At this very moment, she came on the scene.

DECEMBER 23, 2016 – FRIDAY – THE BIRTH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST

(Luke 1:57-63)

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit. Teach me to obey your word.

Imagination: (Picture Elizabeth and Zechariah surrounded by their neighbors.)

Context:

Luke’s gospel describes the miracles that surround the conceptions and births of both John and Jesus. These numerous miracles proclaim that both are very special to God’s plan. In this text, Zechariah is healed and can speak again.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Elizabeth’s time came, she gave birth to a son. When her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his mercy towards her, they all rejoiced with her. On the eighth day, as they were to circumcise the child, they were going to call him by his father’s name, “Zachariah”. However, his mother said, “No. He will be called John.” They responded, “None of your relatives is called by that name.”

So, they asked the father what name he would want. Demanding a writing tablet, he wrote, “John is his name.” At that moment, his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed and he began to praise God. Fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. They all wondered, saying, “What will this child be?” And “Was not the hand of the Lord upon him?”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you).

  1. The neighbors don’t know the full mystery, that Elizabeth’s child was made holy in her womb.
  2. Bestowing the wrong name would lessen God’s gift.
  3. Elizabeth’s faith confronts their wisdom. The angel revealed the name, John, and she acts on that word.
  4. The neighbors are not satisfied. They refuse to accept God’s decision.
  5. Zechariah, however, has come to believe. He unites his faith with Elizabeth’s, and writes, ‘His name is John.”
  6. Having acted in faith, Zechariah experiences a reversal of his misfortune. His tongue is ready to bless God.
  7. In their deeply religious spirit, the crowd is filled with awe, wonder and fear of God.
  8. They become God’s witnesses.   Their tongues, too, are loosed to tell everyone of these events.
  9. All in that hill country treasure these words in their hearts.
  10. They see that God’s hand is upon John.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. O Jesus, give me Elizabeth’s staunch faith.
  2. Make me ready to oppose those who are obstacles to God’s will.
  3. Make my inner spirit, Lord, sensitive to your inspirations.
  4. How powerful, O Jesus, are two hearts united in faith. Let me find others who share my call.
  5. You have chosen a name for me, O Lord. Let me cherish the saint whose name I bear.
  6. Loosen my tongue and I will exalt you before others.
  7. O Jesus, fill me with awe, wonder and childlike faith.
  8. I am your mystery, O Lord. Your hand is upon me.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will examine the mystery of God’s call upon my life.
  2. I will join my heart to someone else who also believes.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Elizabeth said, “He shall be called John.” Zechariah wrote, “John is his name.”

DECEMBER 16, 2016 – WEEK THREE OF ADVENT – FRIDAY – JOHN – A LAMP BURNING BRIGHT

(John 5:33-36)

Prayer: O Jesus, I believe that you were sent by the Father.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus speaking to the crowds.)

Context:

In Advent, the readings highlight the role of John the Baptist. Jesus calls John a “lamp burning bright” because he testified about Jesus. Yet, Jesus has even greater testimony, the works he performs.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus said to the Jews, “You sent to John and he testified about me. (I do not accept such human testimony but I receive it for your salvation). He was a burning and shining light and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.

But I have a testimony greater than John, the works which the Father has given me to accomplish. These works themselves which I perform, give testimony that the Father has sent me.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. The Jewish leaders sought John’s opinion but did not believe him.
  2. John testified to Jesus as best he could, according to his limited understanding.
  3. For John, Jesus was the Lamb of God and the Stronger One who would baptize in the Spirit.
  4. Jesus is much more. He is the Eternal Word made flesh.
  5. Jesus already knew what he came to do. John’s testimony was for the people.
  6. The heavenly Father was a greater witness.
  7. He gave Jesus power to work miracles.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. O Jesus, I believe your gospel testimony.
  2. You are the Lamb of God, the Son of God, the Word made flesh.
  3. O Father, You so loved the world that you sent Jesus.
  4. O Jesus, so many others have told me about you!
  5. O Father, all creation witnesses to you and you witness to Jesus.
  6. Jesus, I will be your witness, a burning and shining light for my generation.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will thank the Father for sending Jesus.
  2. I will strengthen the faith of others.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

John was a burning and shining lamp.

DECEMBER 9, 2016 – WEEK TWO OF ADVENT – FRIDAY – THE CHILDREN SINGING AND DANCING IN THE MARKETPLACE

(Matthew 11:16-19)

Prayer:   O Jesus, open my heart to all the messengers you send to me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples).

Context:

This parable shows hostility toward Jesus. The children cannot agree, so their quarrels end their playtime. The cause is laziness. Some children expect others to do the strenuous part of dancing while they just sit around playing instruments. The Jews treated John and Jesus in the same way, complaining about their quite different ministries. This parable has a cutting edge of urgency.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Jesus said to the crowds, “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplace, complaining against other children. “We have piped you a tune and you have not danced. We have sung a sorrowful song and you have not mourned.”

In other words, John came fasting and you said, “He has a devil.” The Son of Man came eating and drinking and you said, ‘Behold, a glutton and a wine-drinker, a friend of tax collectors and those outside the law’. Time will prove where wisdom lies.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. God sends his messengers. He uses various personalities, trying to appeal to all.
  2. The lazy listeners do not respond. Instead, they criticize the messenger.
  3. Time runs out. Opportunities for repentance are lost.
  4. The decisive moment arrives, but no one is prepared.
  5. Jesus, God’s final messenger has come. The end is near and time is short.
  6. Time will prove who has acted wisely.

Affections. (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. O Lord, give me ears that are attentive to your gospel.
  2. Give me a listening heart so I hear your inner inspirations.
  3. The time is short, O Lord. Let me respond today, right now.
  4. If I repent, you will make me your disciple.
  5. Do not let me ruin my life and waste my years.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own)

  1. God will send his messengers today. I will respond.
  2. I will see the fruits of repentance and ask for simplicity of heart.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Children sitting in the marketplace calling to their playmates.

DECEMBER 2, 2016 – WEEK ONE OF ADVENT – FRIDAY – HEALING THE BLIND

(Matthew 9:27-31)

Prayer: O Jesus, make me confident that you can make me see.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with his disciples.)

Context:

After raising the little girl to life, Jesus encounters two blind men. They give him the Messianic title, “Son of David” and proclaim that they have confidence that he can heal them Filled with joy after being healed, they disobey Jesus and tell everyone the good news. That is Advent – a time to tell everyone that the Lord is coming.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Two blind men cried out, saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us”. When Jesus got to the house, they caught up with him. Jesus said, “Do you believe that I can do this for you?” They said, “Yes, Lord”.

Then he touched their eyes saying, ‘Let it be done to you according to your faith”. Their eyes were opened and Jesus strictly told them, “See that no one knows of this.” But they went and spread his fame all over the countryside.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. The men are determined. First, they meet Jesus. Then, they follow him to the house. They will not be put off.
  2. They know he is the Messiah. He is the “Son of David”, the promised one.
  3. How fortunate that he came to their village.
  4. Jesus questions them directly. Do they believe he can do this?
  5. He is their Lord, certainly he can heal them.
  6. Jesus’ creating hand touches them. Power pours out “according to their faith.”
  7. The healing proves that they did have faith.
  8. Jesus wants to remain unknown but their joy is too great. They tell everyone. It is like Christmas.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. O Jesus, I will follow you. I will pursue you, no matter where you go.
  2. You are the Messiah. The fullness of Davidic power resides in you.
  3. Jesus, how fortunate I am when faith stirs within me!
  4. Have mercy on me, Jesus. Have mercy on me.
  5. “Do I believe?” you ask. How can I not believe”? I know your power.
  6. Fill me with Advent expectancy.
  7. Bless me and I will tell the whole world.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. During Advent, I will try to speak of Jesus.
  2. I will be a person of faith, believing in Jesus’ power to help me.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Let it be done to you according to your faith.

NOVEMBER 25, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-FOUR – FRIDAY – THE EVENTS ARE NEAR

(Luke 21:29-33)

Prayer: O Jesus, help me to act now. So much is about to happen.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples.)

Context:

Jesus has just predicted the fall of Jerusalem and declared that, at a given moment, he will come on clouds of glory. Because people think that this cosmic event is far off, they push the warning aside. So, Jesus must add this image of the fig tree which says that summer is near.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus told his disciples a parable, “Look at the fig tree and all the other trees. When you see them sending forth their shoots, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things happen, know that the Kingdom of God is at hand. Amen I say to you, the present generation will not pass away until all these things take place. The heavens and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. Jesus knows that delay wears down his disciples. His words lose their effectiveness.
  2. The fig tree is a perfect example. In winter, no tree looks more dead.       Yet, so quickly, it comes alive, surprising everyone.
  3. No one needs special knowledge. When trees blossom, everyone knows that summer is close.
  4. Jesus has an important conclusion. When persecution comes and when the Kingdom seems to have lost its power, that is the moment of closeness.
  5. The Kingdom is always near. God’s reign is always at hand. Suddenly and surprisingly, the moment of Jesus’ presence comes upon those gathered in faith.
  6. Someday the whole world will disappear but Jesus’ words will never lose their power.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. O Jesus, when I grow tired, weary and discouraged, give me new life.
  2. Let your Spirit breathe upon me and his fire leap up.
  3. You are always coming to me. Your Kingdom is always at hand.
  4. Just when I am losing life, you surprise me.       Your Spirit suddenly stirs within.
  5. You whisper to me, “I am never far away.       I am always near”.
  6. You are my hope. You will never pass away. Never fail me. Never abandon me.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will live in great hope today that the Kingdom is at hand.
  2. I will recall my favorite words of Jesus.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Know that the Kingdom of God is at hand.

NOVEMBER 18, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-THREE – FRIDAY – A CLEANSED BUT UNREPENTANT TEMPLE

(Luke 19:45-48)

Prayer: O Jesus, make me your purified disciple.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus cleansing the Temple)

Context:

In all four gospels, Jesus cleanses the temple. (Therefore, it is a very important event). Luke, in his gentle manner, omits many details known from the other gospels. He focuses on Jesus’ continued teaching and the leaders’ desires to kill him.

Gospel Text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus entered the temple, he began to cast out the sellers, and the buyers saying, “It is written “My house is a house of prayer but you have made it a den of thieves”.

He was teaching daily in the temple. The chief priests and the scribes and the rulers of the people sought to destroy him but they had no idea of how to achieve it because all the people were listening to him, attentive to every word.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. Luke venerates the temple. He alone tells the Temple stories of Jesus’ parents presenting Jesus (at 40 days) and finding Jesus (at 12 years.
  2. He omits all the details of the buying and selling, merely mentioning “sellers and buyers”.
  3. Luke’s focus is always prayer. Jesus calls the temple “a house of prayer.”
  4. Man has changed God’s temple into a “den of thieves.”
  5. Jesus sanctifies the temple. Now, he can teach without distraction.
  6. Jesus has attacked the Temple’s financial interests. This is the final straw. He must be destroyed.
  7. The people are purified. They are free to listen and cling to his words, attentive to all his teachings.
  8. After the resurrection, the apostles will call them to repent.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. O Jesus, Your body is the new temple.       Your mystical body, the Church, is where you dwell.
  2. Cleanse me, Jesus. Purify me.
  3. Do not let me steal your glory and honor.
  4. Make my soul a “house of prayer” in which I proclaim you as Lord.
  5. If you purge me, sinful powers will not control me.
  6. Jesus, teach me and I will be attentive to your words.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will try to find a Church so I can pray.
  2. I will ask Jesus to purge my sinful desires.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

All the people were listening to him, attentive to his word.

NOVEMBER 11, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-TWO – FRIDAY – DAYS OF DECISION

(Luke 17:26-37)

Prayer – O Jesus, let me watch and be ready for your coming.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching his disciples about his Second Coming.)

Context:

Jesus gives two separate images, the biblical stories of Noah and Lot and the difficult decisions necessary in an emergency. In Palestine, the roofs were flat and people worked there. Every house had outside stairs directly to the street. A person going inside to save his possessions would be foolish.   Both images stress the unknown aspects of Jesus’ coming.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

As it was in the days of Noah, so it shall be in the days of the Son of Man. They ate and drank, married and gave in marriage until the day Noah entered into the Ark. The flood came and destroyed them all.

Likewise, in the days of Lot. They ate and drank, bought and sold, planted and built. When Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and brimstones and destroyed them all. So it will be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

In that hour, if a person is on the roof and his goods are in the house, let him not go in to get them. If someone is in the field, let him not return to the house. Remember Lot’s wife.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. Jesus uses Noah as an example. People were so busy with their lives, that they did not see the flood coming.
  2. Similarly, Sodom was threatened but only Lot and his family knew to escape.
  3. God saved both Noah and Lot by revealing the disaster to them.
  4. They heard God’s word and took appropriate steps. However, Lot’s wife disobeyed.
  5. These stories carry the same teaching.       God will warn us and save us.       We must listen and act.
  6. A person on the roof and a man in the field should just flee and not worry about their possessions.
  7. If they cling to material possessions, they will make the wrong decision.
  8. Whoever is alert to the Kingdom (like Noah and Lot) will be saved.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. Speak, Lord. Guide me. Show me the way.
  2. Save me from foolish decisions.
  3. I will not be caught up in buying or selling. Instead, I will await your coming.
  4. When I see you on the horizon, I will run to you.
  5. Awaken me. Alert me. Give me ears attentive to your voice within.
  6. O Jesus, all is urgent. Set my soul on your path.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own)

  1. I will not allow earthly things to capture my attention.
  2. When I see God’s will today, I will act immediately.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

As it was in the days of Noah, so it shall be in the days of the Son of Man.

NOVEMBER 4, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY-ONE – FRIDAY – THE UNJUST STEWARD

(Luke 16:1-8)

Prayer: O Jesus, wake me up to the imminence of the Kingdom, so I respond fully.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples)

Context:

The parable uses real-life details. Rich owners often lived at a distance and depended on stewards who held promissory oaths of debtors. The steward wants the changes put into the original handwriting of the debtors (so the deception goes undetected).

The master’s surprising praise of his unjust steward has puzzled many but Jesus uses the parable to shock us into action in our crisis of the imminent judgment. The unjust steward was caught in this personal crisis. He sized up the situation, came up with a solution and acted decisively. Jesus wants to shock us into decisive action concerning our personal salvation.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

A rich man had a steward who had wasted his goods. He said to him, “What is this I hear of you? Give an account of your stewardship, for you can be steward no longer.”

The steward thought to himself, “What shall I do because my master will take away my stewardship. To dig, I am not able. To beg, I am ashamed. I know what I will do so that after I am removed from my stewardship, they might receive me into their houses.” He called in his master’s debtors. To the first he asked, “How much do you owe my master? He said, “A hundred barrels of oil”. The steward said, “Take your bill and quickly write fifty”. He said to another, “How much do you owe?” He replied, “A hundred bushels of wheat”. The steward said, “Take your bill and write eighty.”

The Lord commended the unjust steward for he had acted wisely. For the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light.”

Thoughts (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. The crux of the parable is that disaster is imminent. The Master will fire the steward.
  2. The steward knows he must act while he still has access to his master’s debtors.
  3. He acts quickly and effectively. He is able to ingratiate himself with those who have much money.
  4. By commending this action, Jesus says to the crowd, “You, also, are in imminent trouble. The judgment is at the door. Imitate the man’s quickness and cleverness.”
  5. The parable has a shock value. By the surprise ending, Jesus accuses the crowds of their failure to realize that the crisis of judgment is imminent.

Affections (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. Let me not delay, O Lord. Losing my soul is an eternal disaster.
  2. Let me not say, “Tomorrow, tomorrow and tomorrow.” (St. Augustine)
  3. O Jesus, my obligations are serous. These are weighty matters.
  4. Let me move quickly. Let me take the steps.
  5. O Lord, the Kingdom is mine if I act. You will receive me into an eternal dwelling.
  6. Lord, if you need to shock me, you have my permission. Awaken me from my lethargy.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will examine my life to see my situation clearly and to do what is needed.
  2. I will act quickly and not delay.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

Jesus commended the steward for acting wisely.

OCTOBER 28, 2016 – WEEK THIRTY – FRIDAY – ANOTHER SABBATH HEALING

(Luke 14: 1-6)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, heal my infirmities.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus at table with the Pharisees.)

Context:

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus spends much time at table. Usually, controversy erupts. Here, Jesus heals a man and the story focuses more on the controversy than on the healing.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

When Jesus entered a house of one of the leading Pharisees to eat a meal on the Sabbath, they watched him closely. Right in front of him was a man with dropsy. Jesus asked the lawyers and the Pharisees, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day? But they were silent. He took the man, healed him and sent him off.

Then, he spoke to them, “Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit and will not immediately rescue it on the Sabbath?” This they could not answer.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. Jesus enters the house in good will. Others came to attack him.
  2. Suddenly, an invalid has need of his healing powers.
  3. Jesus thinks of the others at table and invites them to share in this moment of healing.
  4. Their hearts are closed and they refuse to participate in this mighty work of God.
  5. Jesus moves ahead without them. He will not hold back the power of God.
  6. After healing the man, he confronts their closed hearts.
  7. Wouldn’t they open their hearts to an animal on the Sabbath?
  8. Jesus’ logic makes them fall silent.

Affections: ((When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. O Jesus, enter my house and bring all your powers.
  2. I come before you, sick and sinful.
  3. Heal me on any day and at any time!
  4. O Jesus, in you is the fullness of God’s powers.  Let all be released!
  5. I am silent before you. I am unworthy and sinful.
  6. O Jesus, I will never leave your presence.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will remain in Jesus’ presence today.
  2. I will give Jesus permission to do whatever he wants.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Right in front of Jesus was a man with dropsy.

OCTOBER 21, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-NINE – FRIDAY – INTERPRETING THE URGENCY

(Luke 12:54-59)

Prayer – O Lord, do not let me lose the Kingdom.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus teaching the crowds.)

Context:

This text has two parts. First, people should be able to see that the Kingdom is at hand. Second, the disciple must act now and accept the Kingdom.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say that rain is coming and so it does. When you see the south wind blow you say that it will be hot and so it is. You, hypocrites, you know how to interpret the portents of earth and sky, why can you not discern this present time?

Tell me, why do you not judge for yourselves what is just. When you go with your opponent to the magistrate, try to settle with him on the way, lest he turn you over to the judge and the judge give you to the jailer and the jailer put you in jail. You will not be released until you have paid the last penny.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. Jesus wants the crowds to become his disciples.
  2. However, they see his miracles but hold back their decision. So Jesus uses an example.
  3. Jesus talks about the western clouds and the southern winds.       Seeing these, people understand that rain or heat is coming.
  4. So, they are hypocrites. They see Jesus’ miracles but they refuse to see that the Kingdom is coming.
  5. Jesus uses a more urgent example. Someone on his way to the courtroom knows he is going to jail.       What does he do? He settles immediately, before he arrives.
  6. Jesus is calling the crowds (and you) to a quick and total commitment to be a disciple.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. Jesus, You want me to be your disciple. I will put this off no longer.
  2. Your Kingdom is at hand. I will no longer stand outside.
  3. I see your love for me. I see your hand in my life. How can I not choose you as King?
  4. How urgent this is, Jesus. Not much time is left. I must get this settled.
  5. If I act quickly, I will avoid eternal death. I will be saved from the prison of hell.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own)

  1. I will not postpone the decision I need to make.
  2. I will not just be a member of the crowd. I will join Jesus as his disciple.

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation.)

Why can you not discern the present time?

OCTOBER 14, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-EIGHT – FRIDAY – JESUS’ WARNING

(Luke 12: 1-7)

Prayer – O Lord, you care for the sparrows. You will care also for me.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus teaching the dense crowds.)

Context:

This text has 2 parts. Having denounced the Pharisees to their face, Jesus is surrounded by crowds. However, he speaks to his disciples. He calls the Pharisee teaching, hypocrisy, and speaks of the Final Judgment when all will be revealed.

Then, he prophesies that his friends will be threatened and even killed. They are not to fear.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

The great crowds around Jesus were so dense that they tread on one another. He said to say to his disciples, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees which is hypocrisy. Nothing is hidden which will not be revealed. Nothing secret which will not become known.

Whatever you speak in darkness, shall be said in the light. What you have whispered in back rooms will be proclaimed on the rooftops.

I say to you my friends. ‘Do not be afraid of those that kill the body and can do no more. Fear him who, after he has killed, has the power to cast into Gehenna. Yes, fear him.

Are not five sparrows sold for a few pennies? Yet, not one of them is neglected by God. Fear nothing then. You are worth more than a flock of sparrows.’

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. Although surrounded by these dense crowds, Jesus instructs his disciples because they are so important.
  2. He points out a false road. They must not follow the Pharisees’ teaching.
  3. This teaching is superficial, and cannot prepare for the Kingdom.
  4. Then, Jesus turns to a more serious topic. His friends will face death.
  5. The person who kills the body need not be feared. The person who endangers their soul must be feared.
  6. God loves even the sparrows who are sold for sacrifice. He does not abandon them in death.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. O Jesus, you take time with me. You teach me. I am important to you.
  2. Let me see what is true, what endures, what is worth sacrificing for.
  3. Point out the false roads. Save me from fruitless efforts.
  4. Never let me take the wrong paths.
  5. I am your friend, Jesus. You have won my heart. I give you my life.
  6. Remove any fear of death. Be with me so I persevere.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own)

  1. During the day, I will renew my consecration to Jesus Christ.
  2. I will not let any threats make me deny what I believe.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

Fear nothing. You are worth more than a flock of sparrows.

WEEK TWENTY SIX – SATURDAY – OCTOBER 7, 2017 Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary THE JOYFUL RETURN (LK 10:17-24)

(Luke 11:15-26)

Prayer – O Jesus, you always use your great power to bless us.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with the disciples and the crowds).

Context:

All agree that Jesus worked these miracles and cast out Satan. In this gospel, some question the source of his power. Their reasoning is contradictory. Jesus wants only to save the world from Satan’s power. In the final section, Jesus is the stronger man who sets us free.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

As Jesus was casting out a devil, some said, ‘It is by Beelzebub, the prince of devils, that he casts out devils.’ Others tested Jesus by wanting a sign from heaven.

Jesus said, “Every Kingdom divided against itself shall be brought to destruction. Any house torn by dissension shall fall. If Satan is divided against himself how shall his Kingdom stand – since you say that I cast out devils by Beelzebub. By whom do your children cast them out? Let them be your judges. But, if I cast out devils by the finger of God, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you.

When a strong man fully armed guards his courtyard, his possessions go undisturbed. But if a stronger man then he comes upon him and overcomes him, he will take away the arms on which he was relying and distribute his spoils.

Thoughts. (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. People use many excuses to reject Jesus. They question the source of his powers.
  2. Jesus confronts this claim. To think that Satan casts out Satan is ridiculous. Satan is too intelligent to divide his house.
  3. What a powerful image! God only needs his finger to conquer Satan.
  4. If Satan is being cast out, then the entire Kingdom of God is present.
  5. Jesus describes the present situation. Satan is heavily armed and keeps secure possession of the whole world.
  6. Soon, however, all that will change. A stronger man, better armed (Jesus) will soon overthrow Satan and will set us free from his power.

Affections (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. O Jesus, your powers are true, able to save me and free me.
  2. O Jesus, cast out all that is dark and satanic in me.
  3. Let the finger of God come upon me and my house will be in order.
  4. I see clearly, Jesus. Satan binds all, controls all and plots all. How I need you!
  5. You have all power. You are fully armed with the Holy Spirit. You break open and set free. Come, Jesus. I await you.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own)

  1. Every day, I will ask Jesus to break the demonic powers that can bind me.
  2. I will avoid and renounce all occult involvement.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

If I cast out devils by the finger of God, then the Kingdom of God is upon you.

SEPTEMBER 30, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-SIX – FRIDAY – THE UNREPENTANT TOWNS

(Luke 10:13-16)

Prayer – Lord Jesus, let me use well this time for repentance given to me by the heavenly Father.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus speaking to his disciples and the crowds.)

Context:

Jesus mentions three towns of Galilee – Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum. The gospels do not record any ministry of Jesus in the first two towns, but obviously he preached there.   They are compared with Tyre and Sidon, two Gentile towns known for their sinfulness. In Capernaum, Jesus had an extended ministry, filled with great miracles. This city was known for its pride because of its lofty stature.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud)

Jesus said, “Woe to you Chorazin! Woe to you Bethsaida! For if in Tyre and Sidon had been done the mighty works that were done in you, they would have done penance long ago in sackcloth and ashes. It will go easier on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you.

And as for you, Capernaum, are you to be exalted to the heavens? You will be cast down into hell.

He who hears you, hears me. He who rejects you, rejects me. He who rejects me, rejects the one who sent me.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. Jesus pulls no punches. His words are like arrows piercing the heart.
  2. The first two towns did not accept the gospel. They did not repent. They will not share in the Kingdom.
  3. Israelites despise Gentile Tyre and Sidon, but Chorazin and Bethsaida are even less worthy in God’s sight.
  4. Capernaum totally misjudges its spiritual state. It prides itself on witnessing Jesus’ miracles but refuses to accept his message and repent. They are headed to hell.
  5. For all three towns, Jesus is concerned about the Day of Judgment. These people will not be ready.
  6. To reject the missionary is to reject the gospel, the only door into eternal life.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. Jesus, pierce my heart with your words.
  2. I will accept your gospel and be with you forever.
  3. Lord, you always worry about my Day of Judgment.
  4. To prepare, I must repent and cast aside what is evil.
  5. You will exalt me, Jesus. You will take me into your heart. You will do everything for me.
  6. How important to believe in your gospel and to accept you as Lord!

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will not delay. I will go to confession and be freed from my sins.
  2. I will humble myself and ask Jesus to exalt me.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

He who hears you, hears me.

SEPTEMBER 23, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-FIVE – FRIDAY – JESUS’ IDENTITY REVEALED

(Luke 9:18-22)

Prayer: O Holy Spirit, open to my heart the mystery of Jesus Christ.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus with his disciples)

Context:

An earlier gospel showed what the Father wanted Jesus to accomplish for Israel. This gospel answers a deeper question. What is Jesus’ relationship to the Father and to Israel. At this point, only the apostles must know. The crowds would misinterpret this truth and make him a king.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

As Jesus was praying in seclusion, his disciples were with him. He asked them, “Whom do people say that I am. They answered, “Some say John the Baptist. Some say Elijah. Others say that one of the prophets has arisen.”

He said, “Whom do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, “The messiah of God”. He strictly commanded them not to tell anyone, saying “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes and be put to death and rise on the third day.”

Thoughts (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. When Jesus is at prayer, he sees clearly the Father’s will.
  2. The disciples, also, are especially blessed when they join Jesus in prayer.
  3. The world cannot comprehend who Jesus is or what he accomplishes.
  4. Jesus’ direct question to the disciples fills Simon Peter with faith and revelation.
  5. Jesus is the Messiah, sent by God to fulfill his divine plan.
  6. Surprisingly, the Father wills that Jesus suffer, die and rise from the dead.

Affections (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. Jesus, my human intelligence cannot understand who you are and what you will do for me.
  2. Give me the light of prayer. I will understand my task.
  3. Fill me with faith. Reveal your mysteries. Draw me to yourself.
  4. You are the Messiah, sent by God to save me.
  5. I will follow you into the great mystery of your death. You will raise me from the dead, also. 

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. By daily mental prayer, I will get to know Jesus Christ.
  2. I will thank Jesus who suffered and died for me.

Thought for the Day (To recall your meditation)

You are the Messiah of God.

SEPTEMBER 16, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-FOUR – FRIDAY – THE SPECIAL DISCIPLES

(Luke 8:1-3)

Prayer – O Jesus, let me accompany you all the days of my life

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with these special disciples, both men and women.)

Context:

Only Luke has this section which highlights the role of women in a ministering role for the Kingdom. Jesus had helped each of these women. After being blessed by Jesus, they were invited to travel with the group.

Gospel text (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Jesus travelled through the cities and towns, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom. With him were the Twelve as well as certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities. Mary, called Magdalen, from whom seven devils were cast out. And Joanna, the wife of Herod’s steward Chusa, Susanna and many others who were assisting Jesus out of their means.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. This short summary contains many individual stories.       First, the Twelve who are so tightly bonded to Jesus.
  2. Then the three women whom Luke says were healed. (Chusa is probably the royal official whose son was healed. No wonder he let his wife travel with Jesus).
  3. Finally, “many others”. All of whom had received some blessing.
  4. Their gratitude led to full-time service and even using their money for the Kingdom.
  5. Luke writes that “the women who had followed him from Galilee “were at Jesus death and burial” (24:49 and 55). They were faithful to the end.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. O Jesus, what a privilege to be always in your company.
  2. By your favors and blessings you bond me to you.
  3. You share your work. You give me a task. What more can I ask?
  4. Jesus, wherever you go, I will go.
  5. Lord, I will use my money for your Kingdom.
  6. Even at Calvary, I will be there for you.

Resolutions (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will recall the special blessings of Jesus.
  2. In my gratitude, I will do everything I can for his Kingdom, today.

Thought for the day (To recall your meditation)

The Twelve were with Jesus, as were certain women.

SEPTEMBER 9, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-THREE – FRIDAY – A BLINDED EYE

(Luke 6:39-42)

Prayer – O Lord, open my eyes to see the true path of devotion.

Imagination – (Picture Jesus speaking with his disciples.)

Context:

Jesus continues to instruct his disciples. They are blind and if they do not listen to him they will remain blind. Even worse, they will be blind to their own gigantic faults, while trying to remove faults in others.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud).

Jesus spoke to his disciples in images. Can a blind man guide a blind man? Will they both not fall into a ditch? The disciple is not above his master but he will be perfect if he becomes like his master.

Why look at the splinter in your brother’s eye and miss the plank in your own? How can you say, “Brother, let me remove the splinter in your eye, and you do not see the plank in your own. Hypocrite, cast out first the plank in your own eye. Then you shall see clearly how to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. Without Jesus, we are all blind.
  2. We join with others who are also blind. Then, we wonder why we stray from Jesus’ path and fall into the pit.
  3. We are blind to our great faults and act as if we had none.
  4. To heal our blindness, we must listen to Jesus. Then, we will have his light.
  5. He will remove our faults so we can see perfectly. The plank will be out of our eye.

Affections. (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. Jesus, I am blind. I do not see. I do not understand. I choose poorly.
  2. Pour your light into my soul.
  3. If I listen to your words, I will become like you. Give me light and I will always choose the Kingdom.
  4. What gigantic planks I have in my eye. Remove them all, Jesus.
  5. When I see, I will help others and we will all see you.
  6. O Jesus, my days of being blind are over! Thank you.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. All during this day, I will ask for Jesus’ light in every decision.
  2. I will realize my own blindness.

Thought for the Day: (To recall your meditation)

The disciple will be perfect when he becomes like his master.

SEPTEMBER 2, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-TWO – FRIDAY – IMAGES OF JESUS’ KINGDOM

(Luke 5:33-39)

Prayer – O Jesus, give me faith which accepts your new Covenant.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus surrounded by his disciples and his opponents.)

Context:

In this text, Jesus uses three images, the bridegroom, the new coat and the new wine. They all reveal the new powers of the Kingdom. Jesus’ opponents are holding on to the old and see no need to accept Jesus.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

The scribes and the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Why do John’s disciples fast and offer prayers. The disciples of the Pharisees do the same. Yours, on the contrary, eat and drink quite freely.” Jesus responded, “Can the guests of the bridegroom fast while the groom is still with them? When the groom is taken away, they shall fast.”

Jesus proposed a figure. No one uses a piece of a new coat to patch an old one. The old coat will tear and the new piece will not match.

No one puts new wine into old skins. The new wine will break the old skins and all will be lost. New wine should be poured into fresh skins.

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder those that attract you.)

  1. Jesus deliberately does not allow his disciples to fast. Their freedom highlights the newness of his Kingdom.
  2. He is the bridegroom and the wedding will soon begin.
  3. He uses this confrontation to preach his message. The Kingdom is a totally new gift of God.
  4. Any attempt to join the old with the new will destroy everything.
  5. The new wine is too powerful for the old wineskins.
  6. Jesus prepares his disciples for divine favors which their Jewish faith cannot imagine.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. Jesus, how limited is my faith, unable to grasp your favors.
  2. Jesus, You are the bridegroom. The wedding has begun. You are in our midst.
  3. I will put aside my old way of life and receive all you will give.
  4. How powerful is your new wine. I will drink it fully and it will change me.
  5. Give me new faith, Jesus. My present faith cannot receive all you want for me.

Resolutions: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will ask for greater faith.
  2. I will set aside my old habits that limit Jesus’ power.

Thought for Today: (To recall your Meditation)

The guests of the bridegroom cannot fast while the bridegroom is present.

AUGUST 26, 2016 – WEEK TWENTY-ONE – FRIDAY – THE TEN VIRGINS

(Matthew 25:1-13)

Prayer: O Jesus, I will go out to meet you.

Imagination: (Picture Jesus with His disciples.)

Context:

In Jesus’ time, because marriages were delayed for hours until all the arrangements were worked out. Therefore, there were many midnight processions by torchlight with the bridegroom arriving unexpectedly. In this parable, all ten virgin fall asleep. However, some are prepared and others are not. This results in a separation. The foolish are cut off from the wise.

Gospel Text: (Read slowly, possibly aloud.)

Scene 1

The Kingdom of heaven is like ten virgins who awaited the coming of the bridegroom. Because his coming was delayed, they all slept. Finally, at midnight, they heard a cry, “The bridegroom is coming, go out to meet him.”

As they arose, the five foolish virgins (who had no oil) said to the others, “Give us some of yours.” The wise virgins responded, “Since there might not be enough for you and us, you must go and buy some.”

So, the foolish virgins went off to buy the oil. The wise virgins met the bridegroom and went to the marriage. Then the door was shut.

Scene 2

When the foolish virgins arrived, they wanted to enter. They cried out, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us.” The Lord answered, “I do not know you.” Jesus said, “Watch, therefore, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

Thoughts: (Read all. Ponder the ones that attract you.)

  1. All ten virgins fell asleep and all have brought their lamps. Only the wise have brought oil.
  2. All hear the same invitation. “Go out to meet the Bridegroom.”
  3. At this point, some virgins realize they were foolish.
  4. They need oil to meet the bridegroom and go into the marriage banquet.
  5. The wise always knew the value of the oil.       They were careful to bring it and wise enough not to share it.
  6. The foolish lose out. They awaken too late to their spiritual situation.

Affections: (When one touches your heart, use your own words.)

  1. At Baptism, you gave me the oil of the Kingdom. I must value it.
  2. O Jesus, at my death, your angel will say, “Go out to meet the Bridegroom.”
  3. Will I still have oil for my lamp, or will I have lost my oil?
  4. O Lord, I will buy oil again by repentance and a good confession.
  5. What is it like to see you? How greatly I will rejoice to “go out and meet the bridegroom.”
  6. O God, heaven is forever. Once I enter, you will never throw me out.

Resolution: (Possibly you might want to make your own.)

  1. I will always treasure my Baptismal grace.
  2. If I have lost my oil, I will regain it immediately by Confession, (my “second Baptism”).

Thought for the day: (To recall your meditation)

Some day, I will hear the words, “Go out and meet the Bridegroom.”